The Bears Struggle As Lancashire Run Riot

Red Dragon Darts

It has not been a good start to their new campaign in the Cosmo Darts Premier Division of the UKDA National League for the Warwickshire County Darts Organisation as after going down 20-16 away to Cornwall in the opener to the season they followed that with a 23-13 home defeat to leaders Lancashire. This is the first time Warwickshire have lost the opening two fixtures since the 2019-2020 season in what was then the BDO Inter County Darts Championship, they then lost the opener 23-13 at home to Yorkshire and followed that with a similar 23-13 defeat at Cornwall.

The weekend could not have got off to a worse start as the ladies ‘B’ slumped to a 5-1 defeat and it all began so well as Chloe McKivett-Saunders opened up a 2-0 lead against Audrey Underwood and went on to win 3-2 with an award winning average of 21.11, but it was Lancashire that won the next two games 3-0 through Ellen Fletcher and Tracey Cunningham over respective opponents Denise Keyte and Kris Meek to reverse the lead and give the visitors a 2-1 advantage. With Sue Cusick coming from one down against Nina Bolt and go on to win 3-1 the away side were then in an unassailable 3-0 lead and with a 3-1 success for Anne-Marie Millership over Caroline Pike the game was won. The visitors took the final score to 5-1 when Jo Dean beat Kirsty Hinchcliffe 3-2 in the final game.

Samuel Price opened up a 2-0 lead over Mark Roberts in the first of the men’s ‘B’ games but it was Roberts who got the better of the 4-3 result to put Lancashire one up. Three 4-1 wins supplied by Gary Davey, James Lawson and Martin Lomas at the expense of Mark Carter, Dave Redding and Sam Whittaker took the score along to 4-0 in Lancashire’s favour before Warwickshire’s man of the match Will Naylor reduced the arrears with his 4-3 win and 26.45 average against Ryan Robinson. Robinson actually won the first two legs in 17 and 20 darts before Naylor levelled in 17 and 14 darts. Robinson took the lead again in the fifth but with 19 and 18 darts in the last two legs it was Will Naylor who got the 4-3 verdict. By the halfway stage the away side had opened up a 5-1 lead as Andy Chase rounded off the half with his 4-2 win over Martin Tonks.

As the second period got underway Peter Hughes (Warwickshire) stormed back from 3-0 down against Andy Cass to draw level at three each and force a deciding leg, but it was Cass with an eighteen darts leg that won it and the game 4-3. Keeping the hosts in with an outside chance of a draw was Scott Hope his 4-3 win over Kevin Garcia after Garcia had gone 2-1 up reduced the arrears slightly to 6-2. Karl Reynolds won the opening two legs against Pete Day jnr in 18 and 20 darts but Day bounced back to go on and win not only his game 4-2 but at the same time clinch the win for his team mates. Michael Sexton took the scoreline along to 8-2 when he won 4-3 against Mark Martin before the home side had their best run of the game two wins in a row supplied by Adam Hancock and Lee Miller who in turn defeated Lee Wilson 4-3 and Jason Longmate again 4-3 to put the final score at 8-4 to Lancashire.

Sunday’s ‘A’ games saw the ladies get off to a flyer as Donna Pinch opened up with her 3-1 win over Ally Smith after Smith had won the first leg and a lady of the match performance from Natalie Gilbert made it 2-0. Natalie beat Jo Clements 3-2 after trailing 2-0 and took the match award for her superb 26.62 average. Putting a win out of reach for Lancashire was Hannah Meek, her straight 3-0 win over Ellen Fletcher taking the score along to 3-0. With a commanding lead it then all went pear-shaped as Dawn Shaw chalked up Lancashire’s first win when she accounted for Lucy Keyte with a 3-0 result, Jenny Nuttall beat Courtney Hine 3-1 and earning a share of the spoils for Lancashire was Gina Jones who won 3-2 against Marian Conway after Conway had come from 2-0 down to level at 2-2., taking the final score to three each.

With Lancashire starting the day with a 16-8 lead it was going to take a huge 10-2 win from the men’s ‘A’ to earn just a draw and after the opening two games that looked very unlikely as Tom Cromwell won 4-2 against Nigel Heydon and Lee Shewan beat Dave Hill 4-0. Jamie Atkins halved the visitors lead when he came from 1-0 and 3-1 down to Pete Day jnr to go on and win 4-3 only to see the away team restore their two games buffer when Stu Wilson won 4-2 against Jamie Hughes.

Gareth Braham was in fine form beating Rob Rickwood 4-2 with winning legs of 12,18,21 and 18 darts and a 28.73 average, Gareth’s team mate Noel Grant going one better when he rounded off the first half with his straight 4-0 win over Nathan Care with a great average of 31.31 wining his four legs in 13,14,22 and 15 darts which included a tremendous 160 checkout in the final leg.

As the second half began Warwickshire took the lead for the first time in the game when Wayne Mynard beat Gary Davey 4-1 and with a 4-2 win for Prakash Jiwa against Gary Jackson a men’s ‘A’ win looked to be on the cards as they now held a 5-3 lead. Prakash Jiwa had a super 28.85 average in his win which was highlighted by his fantastic finishing power checking out on 103,156 and 125 with winning legs of 18,15,15 and 15 darts.

Steve Hine went 1-0 up and levelled at 2-2 against Sam Cromwell but it was Cromwell who got the 4-2 result and with a 4-3 win from Dave Airey over Matty Washbrooke the game was all-square at five-five. The last two games of the weekend both finished with 4-1 scorelines going to Lancashire’s Jordan Brooke and David Evans who in turn accounted for Carl Green and Kevin Dowling to take the score to 7-5 to Lancashire and giving them an overall 23-13 win for the weekend.

The win keeps Lancashire in pole position in the Premier division but saw Warwickshire drop from seventh to eighth on twenty-nine points, already twenty-five behind their opponents.


Alan Towe writes with the support of Red Dragon Darts

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